Friday, February 19, 2016

Save the Date: America the Beautiful Concert

Keep in mind March 5th and 6th for concert to honor the United States of America. The New Hampshire and Massachusetts primaries will be in the recent past as the Presidential election cycle proceeds forth. While politics does not seem the unite the sentiments of voters, music has the ability to speak beyond words.

The major work in the concert is "The Testament of Freedom" composed in honor of the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Thomas Jefferson. The texts are writings from Mr. Jefferson.

The sentiment expressed in "The Testament of Freedom" recalls the passion and energy of the founders of the new republic. Their struggle against tyranny and unjust laws and their struggle for life, liberty, and dignity are eternal calls. Democrats and Republicans alike can be inspired by these pre-Constitutional ideals. It is a spirited tribute to the God who gave us life and liberty.

One can only feel proud of our country as this song evokes our long-ingrained patriotism.

Other pieces are from Gwyneth Walker's How Can I Keep from Singing, Mark Hayes' Swinging with the Saints, Carl Fisher's America, and Samuel Ward's America, the Beautiful, and Virgil Thompson's My Shepherd will Supply my Need.

A light-hearted set from the Irish band, The Travelers, will delight the audience in preparation for St. Patrick's Day.

This concert can heal the political divide in nation. It is certainly worth taking the time to enjoy yourself and to call to mind the virtues of our country. Come celebrate with us. The price is right: $20.00/17.00. Tickets are available at or 978.468.3077.

Come. Please come.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Convertios y creed el Evangelio

Mass in Spanish last night was quite a spirited time. I kept the homily brief because I knew that the distribution of ashes would take a long time. I have a sense the people are priest-oriented because I get the longest lines even though there is a Spanish-speaking deacon alongside of me. I'm grateful for him. 

Still I applied ashes to the foreheads of at least 200 people using these words:

Convertios y creed el Evangelio 


Acuerdate de que eres polvo y al polvo volveras.

I am getting practice repeating sentences in the language. 

I was wondering what the Pope would have thought of my efforts. Would he tell me to go study the language first so I give something substantial to the people or would he be happy that I am at least trying? 

I know the people took advantage of my availability for confessions. I heard (but could not respond much) to the twenty-five or so people who came to the sacrament. I caught the meaningful words. Sometimes parishioners do not like to go to their pastor, but the people do not realize that the priests only see the grace, not the sins. 

What I thought would be an hour and fifteen minutes of services turned into nearly three hours followed by a tasty but simple dinner.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Review: Mystic Chapel

Mystic Chapel

Recently I was asked to review a new CD from The Project called Mystic Chapel released in December 2015 as a follow up to their first CD “Martyrs Prayers.”

Mystic Chapel asks a question to its listeners, “What if we still believed?” The audience targets the Christian faithful, but also reaches to those without faith and those who are finished with institutionalized religion. The searching extends to those who have simply given up on finding a community that expresses their faith.

The first track “Journey’s End” feels like the incarnation is happening. The world is the chapel and goodness exudes from every small note and activity. Words that arise during my listening are clarity, sensitivity, and truthfulness. While “Journey’s End” is first track, “Journey’s Start” is the final track. At the conclusion of the first track, I was reminded on Pink Floyd’s style in some of their 1970’s songs that I really liked. In the final seconds, we are brought into a stone abbey where God can meet the chaos of human beings.

“Come Let Us Worship” bursts forth in clarity of sounds, energy, and meaning. The purpose of this CD is to lead one to a deeper spiritual life through Jesus Christ. The music feels unified to itself and with its music. The music begins simply, but then gets appropriately complex. Some musical components brought to mind The Beatles, Billy Joel, and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.

“Joyous Light” has fine guitar playing in a more subdued track. The lyrics are certainly sensitive and thoughtful. Portions of the music remind me of some of the gems of the 1970s, like the Eagles and America, but it feels contemporary. The Project has accomplished musicians. The conclusion of the track leads us more deeply into the mystery of God’s light.

“Hypachoi” speaks of the resurrection and the angel that comes to announce, “He is Risen.” The music is electric and keeps the listening on edge as the confusion of the Resurrection is felt by the women and by us. The CD’s tone changes at this point because the world has been turned upside down and life has to be discovered anew.

“Death is Destroyed” is more tender and joyous and light. Great mercy is the theme. The guitar rifts are clever and they are instructive because they lead us to become introspective. Gratitude, lightness, and a stretching forth to God are what are brought forth in my experience. While I’ve recently experienced much death and suffering, I needed to be reminded that death is destroyed.

“We Sing With Angels” continues to emphasize the joy we are to feel as Christians because God has favored us. Heaven and earth are merged, and angels assist our worship, calling to mind all the spiritual resources we have. I’m reminded of the acoustic years of Sting. The singer’s voice conveys sensitivity and controlled passion because the story of Christ cannot be contained.

“From on High” is bright and cheery. I love the rift in the middle of the song, but I wanted more substantial lyrics in this tune. I may be na├»ve is saying so because it is simply a song of praise, which does not need many words. The musicians are quite accomplished and the music tells its own story, so I wanted more of the guitar playing because it felt like it was leading me somewhere.

“Holy Father” has great harmonizing of voices in a contemporary rendition of the Lord’s Prayer, but in words in which we can hear it again as if for the first time. It reminds us that we are a people who need God to hear our prayers. The song begins simply but in a harmony of voices lifts our prayers to the Abiding One who can tend to our needs.

“Journey’s Beginning” is a reprise of the first track, but it is undoubtedly more complex, while retaining its clarity. It is clear that the creators of this music poured their soul into this project and the conviction of their faith is strong. The closing seconds of the CD let us know that the Divine is at work in all things. The composers want to lead us to God and they make it clear that God will have the last word.

I appreciate that The Project produced this CD because I concluded that I really liked the composers and musicians because the tracks focus on details with great sensitivity and thoughtfulness. It is clear to me that The Project want to communicate their deep faith to others through their music gifts. They are sharing what is right with the faith to other seekers. They celebrate their faith and pass it on to us to enjoy.

If you would like to reach the composers, please see the contact information below.

The Project
Michael Glen Bell
Duane W.H. Arnold
5815 Lawrence Drive
Indianapolis, Indiana 46226
Contact: Duane Arnold (317) 331-5246